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Fruit Infusions

By MARTIN HINTZ

The lazy, crazy daze of June, July and August means cocktail time on a favorite restaurant terrace or hanging out with pals near a pubís open window. Breeze-catching and conversation is always easier over a margarita and fresh lime wedge. And ohhh, that seasonal gusto with handcrafted Hendrickís Gin, augmented with a tonic splash and slice of garden-fresh cucumber. Plus a Pimmís No. 1, smoothed with Rishi China Breakfast Tea simple syrup, fresh lemon, bitters and a juicy-sweet strawberry can make even a cat on a hot tin roof purr with delight. Try the following for more summertime sipping.

Bryantís Cocktail Lounge
1579 S. 9th St., Milwaukee

When Milwaukee nightís heat up, owner John Dye goes for a Cucumber Collins, a refresher that includes three slices of cucumber, 1 1/2 ounces of Beefeater Gin, a half-ounce of simple syrup, 3/4 ounces of agave nectar, 1 ounce of lemon and soda water. He carefully muddles the cucumber and places it and the gin in the bottom of a martini shaker; then adds simple syrup, the nectar and lemon. He shakes the mixture, along with lots of ice, before straining it into a Collins glass that contains more ice and the soda water. For the final touch, Dye garnishes the finale with a cucumber slice and a lemon twist.

Harveyís Central Grille
1340 W. Towne Square Road, Mequon

Bar impresario Dan Sebanc says among Harveyís most popular summer brunch drinks is a cucumber gimlet. He muddles four to five slices of cucumber, adds one juiced lime, an ounce of simple syrup and 2 ounces of premium vodka. The concoction is vigorously shaken and double strained into a cocktail glass.

Juniper 61
6030 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa

Bartender Scott Ward loves his fruit drinks. Among his dynamite best is made with Skyy Pineapple Vodka, completed with orange and pineapple juice, which is then topped by a float of high-end champagne. He also has a midnight mojito, constructed with Bacardi white rum, fresh blackberries and mint, plus two slices of lemon. In addition, Wardís pear-infused Milwaukee-made Rehorst vodka is value-added with fresh lime juice and plenty of fruit garnish.

Wardís House of Prime
540 E. Mason St., Milwaukee

Bar manager Mike Lind has an extended line of summer drinks, best served in warm eves at the restaurantís outside tables. He particularly pitches Pamís Martini, with its trifecta swirl of Parrot Bay passion fruit, mango and pineapple rums, plus a splash of sweet and sour, along with a plop of cranberry juice. An orange twist is the perfect fruit topper. Other Lind favorites are the Antioxidant Martini and the Sparkling Cosmo, both guaranteed to make the stars sparkle over downtown.

Trocadero
1758 N. Water St., Milwaukee

The Troc offers 60 brands of premium, non-rail tequilas that happily splash around solo in a brandy snifter or can be margarita-ized. Hmmm, love that Don Julio and Casa Noble Anejo. Bar manager Drew Cyr made up his own hand-shaken recipes, with mind-blasting Jalapeno Cucumber, Spicy Melon, Pineapple Ginger and Grapefruit bases. When the nights are hot, hot, hot, one of the Trocís Blood Orange puree classics with its lemons and limes, Patron Citronage and handmade zested sugar rim mellows out the heat.